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Letters to the Editor

Kyoto Protocol won't solve world problem

I am writing in response to the April 5 'Prince' article titled, "Campus group urges compliance with environmental protocol." The validity and concerns from global warming are rarely issues of controversy nowadays. However, the Kyoto Protocol as a solution to this problem is dubious. The fundamental flaw of the protocol lies in the fact that it sets no targets and timetables for developing countries.


Even if the United States and other OECD countries were to adopt and abide by the protocol, their carbon emissions reductions would be simply dwarfed by the magnitude of emissions from developing countries on a business-as-usual trajectory. Indeed, unilateral emission reduction will not be adequate in curbing global warming.

The protocol is nowhere near passage; in fact, the Senate issued the Byrd-Hagel resolution on a 95-0 vote. This resolution asserts that the United States will not take action without some form of commitment from developing countries. While the economic growth and increase in standard of living of developing countries is certainly an understandable issue, it is also imperative that these countries agree to some sort of commitment. The mere fact that India and China have nearly one-third of the world's population and are both growing extremely rapidly shows that their unabated emissions will make the seven-percent reduction from the U.S. seem like a mere drop in the bucket.

While both countries have already taken substantial steps toward improving their efficiencies to lower carbon emission, further action and an eventual commitment are absolutely critical.

The overwhelming and bipartisan support for the Byrd-Hagel resolution indicates that it is very unlikely that Kyoto will be ratified in the Senate anytime soon. Indeed, groups like Kyoto Now! and Princeton Conservation Society would be better off writing to the politicians of developing countries than senators. Mark Phanitsiri '01